2008 US Open (Qualifying Rounds)

This past week, I saw some tennis live (for the FIRST time)!  My yoga teacher (Astoria Sports Club) mentioned last Monday that the first 5 days of the US Open are FREE!!!  I was so surprised; no one had ever told me that before (and I’ve lived in NYC more than 3 years).  It must be a closely guarded secret, b/c a LOT of people don’t know about it.  I had time to go on Wednesday afternoon, Thursday (after teaching my SAYA! SHSAT class), and Friday (all day).  I had a GREAT time, and chatted with a few people (some were knowledgeable about tennis and some just wanted to check out something free)!  Below are some pictures and comments from the Open.

Jelena Jankovic

She was on the practice courts w/ her hitting partner.  I didn’t know who she was until someone (much more knowledgeable re: women’s tennis) pointed that out.  I looked her up; she’s currently ranked #2 in the world!  My mom was VERY impressed when I told her.


The Americans

Todd WidomHe’s got the flaming red hair (and a bit of temper, too).  His build and style are similar to that of Ryler De Heart (see below).


Michael YaniThis wiry 27 y.o. player is Chinese-American; he needs to work on his serve (a weak spot).  He is light on his feet and very focused.


Ryler De HeartHe’s only 24 with affability, energy, and steely determination; he goes for broke- this makes him an exciting player to watch.  The pic above was taken just after he defeated Diego Hartfiled of Argentina (see below).  I see a bright future ahead…


Robert Kendrick He’s tall, blonde, and resembles David Beckham.  Kendrick (28) and his wife have been spotted hanging with celebs, too.  But Kendrick should be lauded for his game, and GREAT presence on the court.  Kendrick’s serve is great, and he has a LOT of stamina- this makes him a VERY popular player.


International Players (with potential)

Aisum-ul-Huq Qureshi – This 28 y.o. family man (I saw his wife and baby) hails from Pakistan; his father was also a tennis player.  He’s scrappy, fast, and not afraid to reveal his personality (talks loudly to himself during games).  He already has many fans ALL over the world!


Bjorn PhauHis unusual looks come from his Swedish mom and Indonesian dad.  He’s well-rounded with a calm demeanor.  Many people were interested in seeing his skills; in Sweden he’s a big star.


Thiago Alves – Loud (he yells out with EACH shot he makes), energetic, and agressive are some words to describe this Brazilian.  He takes his time before serving, then struts across the court with confidence.  The leaps he made reminded me of Agassi, not to mention his build and (slightly wild) hair.


The SUPER-HOT Player: Diego Hartfield

Is it REALLY fair that some people look THIS good?  Seriously, this (smokin’ hot) guy was born to play tennis; you’ll sense it when you see him in action.  He’s tall (6’3″), has powerful legs, and moves across the court with agility.

“Beautiful,” “amazing,” and “wonderful” are some words spectators exclaimed while watching Hartfield.  He makes the game fast, tough, and VERY fun!

When Hartfield serves- watch out, baby!  De Heart defeated him, but he had to pull out all the stops to do so.  I cheered the entire time for De Heart, but Hartfied is AWESOME to watch as well!


Philipp Petzschner

Something about him made me want to root for this guy…  He’s German, only 24 y.o., and has many good qualities.  His backhand is lovely to watch, he can spin the ball well, and his serve is (usually) strong.  He shows TERRIFIC energy at times, too!


His slim build enables him to move around the court fast, as does his height (6’1″).  Petzschner was wearing a plain white shirt, so I don’t think he has any endorsement yet.  He wears ankle supports (perhaps in order to prevent injury).

At times, he shows impatience, frustration, and anger.  He questioned several calls, and asked for clarfications.  In one game, he hit his racket against the ground (very hard) and bent it!  Other times, he swore (English) and called out (probably not-so-nice) things in German.  I thought he was fun to watch!


Another point of contention here- not afraid to question authority.


Unfortunately, Petzschner was defeated by Thiago Alves this past Friday.   He played VERY well the previous two days (I saw three of his games); Alves was a little more agressive.  I hope Petzschner will build upon his skills, and (hopefully) learn how to manage his negative emotions.  If he does this, he can take on the world’s best!

You can learn more about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philipp_Petzschner


AWESOME Tennis Drama: Lapentti vs. Minar

Giovanni Lapentti of Ecuador after his “medical break” (a trainer and official spoke with him).  His legs were hurt (obviously) but he chose to continue with the game.  The crowd was TOTALLY behind him!  Before he continued, he bent down to test himself.

Slowly, he readies himself to serve.  Earlier, he told the referree that he would do all he could.

Lapentti serves the ball as best as he can; he made Minar work for the victory.  Many people were watching by the third set; several were saying encouraging things.  “You can do it.”  “Make him work for it.  Don’t give it to him.”  “You can play on one foot.”

Minar won the game because Lapentti couldn’t return all of his serves.  The two men paused and spoke for several moments at the net.  Minar was noticeably concerned about his opponent; Lapentti patted him on the cheek.

He’s a REAL fighter- did all that he could under the circumstances.  Here Lapentti acknowledges the crowd with a big smile.  I hope he gets better soon!!!

More about this player: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Lapentti

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